There could be a lot of changes next week, but this week the first 15 teams from last week are the same. Only newcomers are Heritage of Brentwood and Canyon of Anaheim.
The next two weeks of the state top 20 softball rankings are especially tricky because there are so many important games on Tuesdays. Our aim has been to get the new rankings posted at least a few hours before those games are played.
This week’s most important Tuesday game is No. 2 Pacifica of Garden Grove playing No. 8 Royal of Simi Valley in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. That score won’t be included in this week’s top 20, but we’ll have updated info when the next divisional state rankings are compiled.
(Through games played Monday, May 21)
(Contributing: Harold Abend, Paul Muyskens)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. (2) Norco 27-2
They may be one of the nation’s best teams and it was a first-round game, but it’s never easy in the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs so the Cougars had to hold on to beat Great Oak of Temecula 3-2 to remain in the state’s top position. Norco meets Etiwanda and slugging queen Melissa Taukeiaho in the second round.
2. (1) Pacifica (Garden Grove) 27-2
The Mariners didn’t have any trouble in their first-round CIFSS Division I playoff game as they blanked Rosary of Fullerton 7-0. That set up the most interesting second-round matchup with Pacifica having to face Arizona-bound pitcher Nancy Bowling and her team from Royal of Simi Valley.
3. (3) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 24-0
They may have to change the last name of Johanna Grauer to mower because that’s what the phenom has been doing all season. Last week she fanned 13 and 16 in 9-0 and 13-0 wins over Livermore and Pleasanton Foothill, respectively. She now has nine straight shutouts and 19 on the season. The top-seeded Dons move into the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs as the first large school undefeated team to enter the playoffs since the 2006 Freedom of Oakley team that finished 25-0 and No. 1 in the nation. The team drew a first round bye and opens action on Friday at home.
4. (4) Lutheran (Orange) 26-4
Jade Vecvanags was in the circle as expected and the Lancers defeated Rooseveltof Eastvale as expected 5-1 in CIFSS Division I playoff action. Vecvanags struck out 12 to earn her 15th win of the season while also hitting a solo home run. Winners of seven straight, Orange Lutheran faces Valencia on Tuesday, which defeated Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga in its first playoff game.
5. (5) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 26-2
After a first round bye in the CIF Central Coast Section Division II playoffs, Cal-bound Vanessa Alvarez pitched a mercy-shortened no-hitter for her 12th shutout this year in a 10-0 quarterfinal victory over WCAL rival and crosstown Presentation. Jazmyn Jackson and Danielle Bowers had three RBIs apiece. Next up is a semifinal matchup with Gilroy, a 3-0 winner over Los Altos.
6. (6) Chino Hills 28-3
Opening up postseason play last Thursday, the top-seeded Huskies defeated Nordhoff of Ojai 4-1 in the first-round of the CIFSS Division III playoffs. Nikki Innamorato struck out seven in the circle while Brogan Hoenisch and Paige Gumz each hit solo home runs. Chino Hills’ second-round opponent will be La Serna of Whittier as the team will look to extend a 22-game winning streak.
7. (7) El Diamante (Visalia) 30-1
We don’t have the Miners at No. 1 in the state let alone No. 1 in the nation like the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. It’s not as if we don’t like them and they are way better than a team from Arizona (Estrella Foothills) that was mysteriously placed No. 1 in the nation by another competitor, but a CIF Central Section team has to go outside its boundaries and play somebody to be even close to that high of a ranking in our system. Still, this is a very good squad that last week advanced to the Division I section semifinals to face Clovis West of Fresno with a 5-0 win over Clovis. Kyla Cisneros doubled and drove in two runs while Sierra Hyland struck out six.
8. (8) Royal (Simi Valley) 25-2
After a 6-0 shutout on the road at Redlands, the Highlanders get a game that probably neither they nor opposing host Pacifica would like to see this early in the playoffs, but be as it may the two square off on Tuesday in Garden Grove. Arizona-bound and previous State Athlete of the Week Nancy Bowling rolled Redlands on a three-hitter with nine strikeouts. Junior Kelyn Fillmore filled the stat sheet after going 4-for-4 with a triple, two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored.
9. (9) Esperanza (Anaheim) 24-6
Brynley Steele and Nicole Shroeder each homered and drove in two runs as the Aztecs scored four runs in the first inning on the way to a 6-3 win over Yorba Linda in the first-round of the CIFSS Division I playoffs. On Tuesday, they will face Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the second round.
10. (10) James Logan (Union City) 21-1
The Colts finished up Mission Valley Athletic League play with a 9-1 win over Irvington of Fremont. Alexis Martinez had a bases-loaded double that cleared the sacks and Taylor Peters had a double that knocked in two. As expected, the Colts drew the No. 2 seed in the NCS D1 playoffs behind the Amador Valley team that dealt them their only loss this season.
11. (11) Los Alamitos 23-6
Alex Finie and Mattie Scheele each hit a two-run home run as the Griffins beat Upland 4-1 in the CIFSS Division I playoffs and extended their win streak to seven games. Up next in the CIFSS Division I playoffs is a top 20 matchup against Vista Murrieta.
12. (12) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 23-3-1
After a first-round bye, the CIF San Diego Section Division II top-seeded Barons picked up two wins last week, 10-0 over Point Loma of San Diego and 3-1 against San Marcos. Veteran coach John Carlson now leads the girls into the semifinals of the double-elimination format against No. 2 seed San Diego Rancho Bernardo at the Poway Sportsplex on Thursday.
13. (13) Mission Viejo 24-5
After falling behind 1-0 in their CIFSS Division II playoff opener against West Covina, the Diablos exploded for a season-best 18 runs in their 18-1 victory. Sara Higa had two home runs as the team scored eight runs in the third inning and then scored five runs in both the fourth and sixth innings. Winners of six straight, Mission Viejo looks to keep the hot bats going on Tuesday when they face Chino.
14. (14) Edison (Huntington Beach) 24-4
Mercedes O'Connor homered and drove in three runs while Samantha Cordova struck out eight and didn't allow a run as the Chargers advanaced in the CIFSS Division I playoffs with a 6-0 victory over Murrieta Valley. Casey Africano drove in two runs and Jessica Plaza had a solo home run for the Chargers, who will now face Canyon of Anaheim in the second round.
15. (15) West Ranch (Valencia) 22-4-1
Bailey Foster struck out five and allowed just one run as the Wildcats advanced to face Santiago of Corona after a 3-1 CIFSS Division I playoff win over El Modena of Orange. Julia Lombardi also drove in a run while Keeley Walsh had a two-run double that turned out to be the game's winning runs.
16. (19) Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 20-4-1
Sierra Romero homered and drove in four runs while Selina Ta'amilo allowed just two hits as the Broncos opened up the CIFSS Division I postseason by defeating Corona 10-0. Romero enters a big matchup against No. 11 Los Alamitos on Tuesday with 20 homers for the season. Natalie Baltas and Kylie Datil also homered in the win over Corona.
17. (18) Camarillo 25-5
The defending CIFSS Division II champions took their first step towards repeating as Oregon State-bound Sarah Shadinger struck out 12 and didn't allow a hit in an 8-0 first-round win over Diamond Bar. Up next for the Scorpions is a second-round matchup against Woodbridge of Irvine.
18. (20) Dos Pueblos (Goleta) 24-3
Hannah Harris, daughter of coach Lee Harris, pitched a four-hitter as the Chargers won their opening game in the CIFSS Division IV playoffs 7-2 over Maranatha of Sierra Madre. Dos Pueblos meets Santa Monica in the second-round.
19. (NR) Heritage (Brentwood) 22-2
The Patriots are another team to watch in the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs. One of their two losses is to unbeaten Amador Valley and in the last eight games they’ve been particularly dominant with shutouts in all eight games and a 78-0 scoring margin.
20. (NR) Canyon (Anaheim) 18-8
The Comanches, who reached the CIFSS Division I final last year and lost on one swing of the bat, opened their bid to get back with an 8-0 romp past Moorpark. That Moorpark team is the same one that was in a three-way tie with Simi Valley and Royal for the Marmonte League title. Canyon plays No. 14 Edison of Huntington Beach in the second-round.
Previous No. 16 Simi Valley; No. 17 Del Oro (Loomis).
Teams on the Bubble
Alhambra (Martinez) 20-4, Atascadero 25-3, Carlmont (Belmont) 23-3, Casa Roble (Orangevale) 17-5, Hughson 26-1, La Canada 22-4-1, Lakewood 26-5, Newark Memorial (Newark) 19-4, Petaluma 21-3, Rancho Cotate (Rohnert Park) 20-2, Ridgeview (Bakersfield) 30-3-1, San Benito (Hollister) 21-3, Santiago (Corona) 20-9, Saugus 22-7, St. Lucy’s (Glendora) 22-5, Valencia 19-10, Woodcreek (Roseville) 24-5.
Comments or corrections? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.